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‘Excluding civil society from peace talks will be fatal mistake’

29 Mar 2021 - 20:30
29 Mar 2021 - 20:30

KABUL (Pajhwok): An inclusive and sustainable peace in Afghanistan is the one backed by Afghan civil society, according to a statement from Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP) on Monday.

The largest gathering of Afghan civil society in recent history – over 1300 representatives from every District and Province in Afghanistan and 600 more from the Diaspora via Facebook link have gathered here in Kabul on this historic occasion to voice their concerns regarding afghan society inclusion in the peace process.

Many have risked their lives in getting here today, but the magnitude of the situation, and this real opportunity to move towards peace, is such that we all felt it was important to take that risk.

The US Administration has called for ‘accelerated peace talks’ in Istanbul, Turkey to come to some agreement for Afghanistan.

All sides to the conflict (including the International Community), need to know that best practice conflict resolution experience from around the world, strongly demonstrates that the more inclusive peace negotiations are, the more sustainable the peace is likely to be. Thus, it would be a fatal mistake to exclude the independent voices of civil society.

In this regard, Afghan civil society in this historic National Peace Gathering facilitated by the AMIP, would like to convey four key points to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Taliban Political Commission, the International Community and the media:

Inclusion:

  • We call for an inclusive process and an inclusive Inclusive means involving

all segments of society, especially vulnerable and marginalized groups, young people, women, victims, and representatives of all ethnic and religious communities. The people, and not only the political elites, represent Afghan society

  • We demand that an independent civil society mechanism is integrated into the formal peace architecture to provide for the systematic inclusion of Afghan society, and to ensure the inclusivity and sustainability of the peace process
  • We want direct access to the table via the Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP)
  • We call for the United Nations to work with civil society and its mechanisms to ensure inclusivity in the peace process.

Ceasefire:

  • Without a comprehensive cease-fire, peace is not possible!
  • Cease-fire should be the main agenda point in the negotiations and negotiations should start immediately
  • Ceasefire negotiations should include the perspective of victims, women and ordinary Afghans
  • Afghan society should have a neutral role in the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism of any Ceasefire

Governance:

  • Islamic values should be maintained as the basis for governance in Afghanistan.
  • Negotiations on  the  constitution  and  future  governance  structures  must  Include  the perspective and expertise of Afghan society
  • Tribal prejudice as well as moral and institutional corruption should be “eliminated”
  • Structures to compensate victims should be developed
  • The future government must provide security, employment, education and preserve the rights of women and other minorities
  • The future government should have fair and balanced development throughout the country

International Community:

  • We call upon the withdrawal of all foreign troops and fighters from Afghan so However, this

must be done in a responsible, conditioned and structured manner, that prioritises the safety and security of all Afghan people

  • We request that regional countries support our call for a comprehensive and immediate

ceasefire. Civilian areas should not be targeted as a political negotiation strategy by any sides.

  • We ask for the continued financial and political support of the international community in the

support for peace process.

  • We ask the UN to partner with the independent Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace

(AMIP) to facilitate the submissions and the transfer of inputs and concerns of Afghan society to the negotiating table.

This statement has been undersigned by over 1300 civil society representatives from across Afghanistan, and should be seen as the will of the people of Afghanistan being clearly expressed to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Taliban Political Commission and the International Community.

Pr/nh

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